Student Learning Assessment Outcomes

The University of Rochester School of Nursing (URSON) has baccalaureate, masters and doctoral programs. 

SYSTEMATIC EVALUATION PLAN

The overarching educational goals for all programs are as follows:

SON Educational Goals
The educational programs of the school will:

  • Produce leaders who, with their developing expertise in critical thinking and ethical decision making, provide care that is evidence-based, culturally congruent, collaborative and interdisciplinary for diverse individuals, groups and populations; value and respect diversity; practice nursing in a culturally sensitive manner.
  • Produce leaders who, with their developing knowledge and skills, participate in research for the improvement of health care and the advancement of science, practice, and education.
  • Produce scholars who are prepared to engage in lifelong learning and teaching.

1.  Baccalaureate Programs
There are two baccalaureate programs at the URSON:  The Accelerated Program for Non-Nurses (APNN) and the RN to BS program and RN to BS to MS Program.  The goals and objectives for both of these programs are:

The goals of the Baccalaureate Program are to:

After successful completion of the Baccalaureate Program, the graduate will be able to:

Prepare registered professional nurses who are capable of independent and collaborative problem-solving, decision-making, and the delivery and coordination of care to meet a wide range of client health care needs.

  • Integrate knowledge from the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences in the practice of professional nursing.
  • Provide patient-centered care that is respectful of differences, values and expressed needs; involves patients in decision making; is coordinated; and promotes optimal health.
  • Practice in a safe, caring, responsible and accountable manner in accordance with professional ethics and acceptable standards of nursing practice.
  • Demonstrate skills in critical thinking and decision making in the use of the nursing process with individuals, families, groups and communities experiencing complex health problems.
  • Demonstrate skill in interdisciplinary collaboration and delegation in designing, managing and coordinating health care of individuals, families and groups.
  • Use quality improvement principles and information technology to communicate and manage knowledge, prevent errors and support decision making to improve patient outcomes.
  • Apply appropriate knowledge of wellness and health problems, including risk factors, in planning and providing comprehensive patient-centered care to individuals and groups.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of care for individuals and groups using informatics and quality improvement principles for purposes of improving care, assuring patient safety and maximization of outcomes.

Prepare registered professional nurses who contribute to excellence in nursing care by scholarly contributions through participating in the discovery, integration, and application of research.

  • Integrate best evidence with clinical expertise and patient values for optimum care.

Prepare registered professional nurses who engage in activities to promote self-awareness and self-growth in the practice of nursing.

  •  Develop goals that reflect a commitment to professional development, lifelong learning and scholarship.
  1. Accelerated Program for Non-Nurses

Students who have a non-nursing baccalaureate degree are eligible to apply to the Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for Non-Nurses (ABPNN) or the Accelerated Master’s Program for Non-Nurses (AMPNN).  There are four learning assessment outcomes that are measured throughout this program of study:

  • The Comprehensive Predictor:

The purpose of the Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) RN Comprehensive Predictor ®2010 is twofold.  The first purpose is to provide students and educators with a numeric indication of the likelihood of passing the NCLEX-RN at the student's current level of readiness.  The second purpose is to guide remediation efforts based on on the exam content missed.  This is achieved by providing a listing of topics related to missed items in the individual and group score reports.  To provide the numeric indication of NCLEX-RN readiness, ATI engages in an extensive validation process involving a statistical comparison of student performance on the RN Comprehensive Predictor ®2010 and actual NCLEX-RN first attempt pass/fail status.  The threshold for this outcome is that the school's average meets or exceeds the national average.

  • Community Health Nursing Assignment (CHN)

The Community Health Nursing (CHN) assignment allows students to analyze a community health issue relevant to the greater Rochester area.  This experience will involve providing care &/or education as a team in a designated community setting. This assignment occurs in NUR 377 Adult and Home Nursing, which is offered during the second and/or third semester of the APNN-BS program. Based on the course and clinical experience relative to community health, the student synthesizes learning in the program to address a community health issue with a focus on health literacy, health promotion, cultural and linguistic appropriateness, use of research/evidence to inform practice, and collaborative teamwork.  A grading rubric developed by course faculty is used to measure student learning outcomes. The threshold for this learning outcome is that the class’s average meets or exceeds a score of 90%.

  • NUR 379 Capstone Clinical Evaluation Tool (CCE)

The final clinical course in the APNN Program is a mastery clinical experience.  At the completion of this course, a final clinical evaluation is conducted using identified clinical competencies.  A review of these final evaluations is conducted by course faculty to determine if the student has successfully completed this course.  The threshold for this learning outcome is that at least 95% of the student group will successfully achieve these competencies.

  • The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX)

Entry into the practice of nursing in the United States and its territories is regulated by the licensing authorities within each jurisdiction. To ensure public protection, each jurisdiction requires a candidate for licensure to pass an examination that measures the competencies needed to perform safely and effectively as a newly licensed, entry-level nurse. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) develops the licensure examination for registered professional nursing, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®) that are used by state and territorial boards of nursing to assist in making licensure decisions. The threshold for this learning outcome is that the school’s average meets or exceeds the national average.


  1. RN to BS and RN to BS to MS Program

Registered nurses who have graduated from hospital diploma programs or associate degree programs apply for admission directly to the RN completion baccalaureate program (RN to BS). The School also has an RN to BS to MS program. Registered nurses admitted to this program earn both the BS and MS degrees.   There are three learning assessment outcomes that are measured throughout this program of study:

  • Capstone Project (CP)

The Capstone Project is a Quality Improvement Project focusing on a practice-based quality or safety issue identified by the student.  The project is planned in NUR 354 Concepts of Leadership and Management and completed in NUR 357 RN/BS Capstone Course, the final course in the RN/BS Program.   The grading rubric is to be developed as the course has not yet been offered. The threshold for this learning outcome will be that 95% of the student group will successfully complete this project.

  • Community Health Nursing Project (CHN)

The Community Health Nursing (CHN) project allows students to analyze a community health issue relevant to the greater Rochester area.  This experience will involve providing care &/or education as a team in a designated community setting. This assignment occurs in NUR 356 Population Health, which is offered during the final semester of the RN-BS program. Based on the course and clinical experience relative to community health, the student synthesizes learning in the program to address a community health issue with a focus on health literacy, health promotion, cultural and linguistic appropriateness, use of research/evidence to inform practice, and collaborative teamwork.  A grading rubric is to be developed by course faculty. The threshold for this learning outcome will be that 95% of the student group will successfully complete this project.

  • Professional Portfolio (PF)

The professional portfolio is an authentic assessment tool to measure prior learning through formal education and experience.  The portfolio is compiled during NUR 350 RN/BS Transition to Professional Nursing Practice. The threshold for this learning outcome will be that 95% of the student group will successfully complete this project.


2.  Masters Programs
There are two Master's programs at the URSON:  The Master's program for Nurse Practitioners and the Master's in Leadership in Health Care Systems.  

  1. Master's Program for Nurse Practitioners

Graduate specialties in the School offer concentrations leading toward the Master of Science degree. Specialties include Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Cardiovascular, Critical Care), Adult Nurse Practitioner, Adult Nurse Practitioner/Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Care of Children and Families-Pediatric Nurse Practitioner,  Care of Children and Families-Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with Pediatric Behavioral Health Specialization, Care of Children and Families-Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (Post-Master’s only), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Adult/Family) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Child/Adolescent).  The goals and objectives for both of this program are:

The Goals of the Master’s Nurse Practitioner Programs are to produce:

After successful completion of a Master’s  Nurse Practitioner Program, the graduate will be able to: 

Providers who base clinical care, decision making, and clinical services on scientific evidence which is grounded in careful analysis of the unique needs of the individual, group or population.

  • Integrate theory and research in to interdisciplinary practice that is patient centered and culturally competent.
  • Demonstrate clinical competence in a specialty that is grounded in the principles of ethical advanced nursing practice.
  • Use information technology and informatics to advance safe and effective advanced nursing care.
  • Lead evidence based initiatives to improve patient outcomes. 

Providers who are actively engaged in scholarship through the clinical application of existing knowledge the generation and dissemination of new clinical knowledge.

  • Critically analyze problems (clinical, systems, public policy and professional practice) to develop innovative solutions.
  • Apply strategies (including best practice initiatives, performance improvement, quality assurance activities) to improve patient care and health systems.
  • Apply principles of leadership, including participation in professional organizations, to shape policies that effect health care, education, practice and research.
  • Advocate effectively for self, patients and the profession.

Providers who maintain competence in their specialty through formal and informal educational opportunities, specialty certification and who promote the ongoing education of others.

  • Develop professional goals that reflect a commitment to professional development, lifelong learning and scholarship.
  • Participate in the education of others.
  • Facilitate the professional advancement of others.

Advanced clinical nursing at the Master’s level involves analysis, synthesis, and application of knowledge and skills relevant to a defined specialty area of clinical practice. The dynamic interaction between the educational program and the learner facilitates progressive levels of mastery of the nursing process. Graduate education has as its ultimate purpose the scholarly pursuit of knowledge about people in their quest for health and recovery from illness and about the consequences of nursing care provided to them. Research is an integral part of education at the Master’s level. An attitude of scientific inquiry is fostered as an essential component of practice. Research at this level emphasizes the utilization of findings, the identification of researchable problems, and the implementation of the research process.

There are two learning assessment outcomes that are measured throughout this program of study:

  • Comprehensive Examination:

Students are required to register for NUR 493 for the semester they intend to complete the Comprehensive Examination. The Comprehensive Examination Committee determines questions for the examination. The committee is comprised of a balance of clinical, leadership, and academic faculty actively involved in the Master’s Program in professional core and specialty courses. This committee generates questions, grades examinations, and submits the students’ grades to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

The SON terminal objectives for the Master’s Degree Programs determine the content of the examination questions. In the Master’s Comprehensive Examination, students are expected to demonstrate synthesis of the four primary domains covered in both the Nurse Practitioner and Leadership programs. The focus of the examination is to apply the domains of: (1) a theoretical perspective, (2) research, (3) ethical analysis, and (4) public or health policy analysis to a scenario specific to the student’s program. Theory approaches are used broadly, for example from nursing, psychology, physiology, and other disciplines. The research domains are also broadly considered, and may include but are not limited to, evidence-based practice, epidemiology, and population health research, as may be relevant to a specific program of study. A final area of interest in the Comprehensive Examination is the student’s ability to produce a formal, scholarly paper, as evidenced by addressing the domains of concern along with the use of correct grammar, spelling, formatting, and APA standards for style and citation of referenced resources.

The threshold for this learning outcome will be that 95% of the student group will successfully complete comprehensive examination.

  • Competency Grid

All of the specialty nurse practitioner programs have developed clinical competency grids that reflect national standards for professional practice.  Students are evaluated throughout each of the clinical courses by the clinical course faculty and clinical preceptors on each of these competencies.  The threshold for this learning outcome will be that 95% of the student group will successfully complete these competencies by the completion of their final clinical course.

  1. Leadership in Health Care Systems

The interprofessional Leadership in Health Care Systems (LHCS) program was established in 2004. The 30 credit Master’s of Science program offers core courses in epidemiology, ethics, economics, global public health, and leadership in addition to specialty content in both fields. 

The LHCS program was specifically designed to align with national and international health professional education reform principles.  The goal of interprofessional education is to increase team learning among professionals from different backgrounds for the purpose of improving health care for individuals and populations.  The distinct feature of the LHCS program is core leadership knowledge.  Subject matter includes formalized management tools, but goes further to emphasize leadership theory, principles, and practices.  The LHCS program has been developed for health professionals seeking career advancement and for professionals transitioning to a health care career from other fields.

In 2006, the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) program was added to the LHCS program.  The CNL program is only open to nurses.  The purpose of the CNL program is to prepare nurses for leadership roles at the point of care delivery in a variety of health care settings.  The CNL is a nurse generalist prepared to direct and coordinate care at the unit level.

The goals and objectives for both of this program are:

Goals

Objectives

Prepare health care leaders to provide strategic and sustained direction, clear and visible values, and organizational environments that foster continuous improvement and enable success.

  • Explain a shared vision for population health that includes expectations for interprofessional teams and complex health care systems to meet identified needs
  • Lead health care system change to achieve measurable improvements in health and organizational outcomes
  • Manage fiscal information and budgets to ensure stewardship of resources
  • Integrate cultural knowledge in relationships, infrastructures, and policies that respects the diversity of employees and health care recipients
  • Employ information technology to support communication, knowledge management, and decision-making

Prepare health care leaders to support evidence-based practice and inquiry relevant to improving health and complex health care systems.

  • Synthesize the evidence base to ensure the delivery of high quality health care
  • Apply theory, best evidence, and robust methods to systems thinking and decision-making

Prepare health care leaders to create environments that foster innovation and continuous learning.

  • Design information systems to enhance education and the effectiveness of individuals, teams, and complex health care systems
  • Build relationships and partnerships to foster individual, team, and organizational learning

This program has just completed a major revision and the student learning outcomes are in the process of development and will be reported at a later date.


3.  Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

The DNP program at the University of Rochester School of Nursing is designed to prepare nurses at the highest level for advanced clinical practice in a specialty practice area. The program prepares leaders who can critically evaluate the evidence base for care and facilitate the translation and integration of research into clinical practice, deliver such care, set health care policy, manage clinical care units and health systems, solve health care dilemmas, work skillfully as members of interdisciplinary teams, and reduce disparities in health care. This program is designed to facilitate students’ full engagement in the learning process and their pursuit of clinical excellence.

The goals and objectives of the DNP Program are:

 

Goals Objectives

Produce clinical leaders who, with their developing expertise in critical thinking and ethical decision making, provide care that is evidence-based, culturally congruent, collaborative and interdisciplinary for diverse individuals, groups, and population; value and respect diversity; practice nursing in a culturally sensitive manner.

  • Lead the delivery and evaluation of high quality, evidence-based, and patient-centered care.
  • Organize interprofessional and intraprofessional teams to improve patient and population health outcomes.
  • Integrate information technology into the management, application, and evaluation of new knowledge in the support and improvement of patient care and care systems.
  • Advocate for quality health care via political activism and policy change.

Produce (nurse) leaders who, with their developing knowledge and skills, participate in research for the improvement of health care and the advancement of science, practice, and education.

  • Provide organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement and systems thinking.
  • Synthesize research findings to develop and/or refine practice guidelines that improve practice and the practice environment.
  • Design and implement processes to evaluate outcomes of practice and systems of care.
  • Integrate information technology into the management, application, and evaluation of new knowledge in the support and improvement of patient care and care systems.

Produce clinical scholars who are prepared to engage in lifelong learning and teaching

  • Lead the delivery and evaluation of high quality, evidence-based, and patient-centered care.
  • Mentor students and clinicians in professional settings.
  • Disseminate clinical knowledge through presentations and publications.

There are four student learning assessment outcomes that are measured during this program:

  • Qualifying Examination/Proposal Defense

    The purpose of the DNP qualifying exam is to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate synthesized learning acquired through the first two clinical practicum experiences and other DNP program course work.  Students are eligible to take the exam the summer following completion of NUR 585 and when they have received confirmation from their capstone committee chairperson that they are ready to defend their proposal.  The capstone project proposal defense provides the structure for the exam. 

    The proposal is prepared during the second year and summer prior to beginning the final year of coursework. Each student selects a capstone project advisor (chair) from the SON faculty, who may or may not be the original academic advisor; an additional SON faculty member; and a full-time clinical member outside the SON to constitute the capstone project committee.

    The capstone project proposal is presented orally to the student’s capstone project committee, the DNP program director and another member of the DNP faculty chosen by the program director in collaboration with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  The presentation is followed by the qualifying exam including a critique and oral defense of the proposal.
    The capstone project involves the design, implementation, and/or evaluation of innovative initiatives to improve clinical practice and/or influence health policy.  Students are expected to collaborate closely with practice partners and mentors in developing projects.

    The threshold for this learning outcome will be that 95% of the student group will successfully complete the qualifying examination/capstone project defense.

    • Capstone Project Defense

    Students are required to implement their projects as described in their capstone project proposal. During the clinical residency (NUR 587), students are expected to formally defend their projects in a group consisting of faculty members, clinical experts, and peers.  Successful completion of the capstone project includes a written document that is defended orally. The purpose of the oral examination is to ascertain whether or not the candidate has proposed a significant clinical project and whether or not he or she has defended the project adequately by offering appropriate and effective arguments and by marshaling relevant and convincing clinical evidence. The presentation and defense of a significant capstone project is the pinnacle of the work for the DNP degree.

    The threshold for this learning outcome will be that 95% of the student group will successfully complete the qualifying examination/capstone project defend their capstone project.

    • Capstone Manuscript

    All students are expected to prepare their capstone project into a manuscript that is suitable for publication.  Students are expected to submit this manuscript for publication within one year of program completion.  The threshold for this learning outcome will be that 100% of the student group will successfully publish their manuscript.

    • Curriculum Vitae review

    Students who have graduated from the DNP Program will be contacted annually and asked to submit their CV for review.  The CV will be reviewed for positions held, regional and national presentations and publications.  We are still in the process of determining the parameters of this outcome.

     

    4.  PhD in Health Practice Research Program

      PhD program prepares scholars who will develop and refine the evidence base for clinical practice and contribute to the dissemination, teaching, and advancement of research in academic and clinical settings and in national and international arenas. The program consists of four components: core courses in research and theory building, courses individually selected to support the student's research interests, research and teaching assistant experiences, and the dissertation. The program content is directed toward the formulation and testing of theory; the designs, methods and tools for conducting research on topics related to health and illness; and the development and critique of scientific and humanistic knowledge appropriate to the care of persons in health and illness.
       
      The PhD program is a research training process that is based on clinical expertise at the masters level. As of 2006, applicants to the PhD Program may hold masters degrees in nursing or other health disciplines, such as physical therapy, speech-language-pathology, or social work.

      The goals and objectives of the PhD program are:

      Goals

      Objectives

      Scholars who develop and refine the evidence base for culturally congruent collaborative health care of individuals, groups, and populations.

      • Critique, synthesize, and apply theory and research evidence on clinically relevant issues and problems.
      • Articulate the contributions of the graduate’s own research and that of his/her discipline.

      Scientists who design, conduct, and critique research for the improvement of health care and the advancement of theory and practice.

      • Design, execute, and disseminate clinical research that is:
      • Rigorous
      • Ethical
      • Theoretically congruent
      • Clinically and socially significant

      Leaders and mentors who contribute to the dissemination, teaching, and advancement of research in academic and clinical settings and in national and international arenas.

        • Demonstrate progression toward a leadership role in health science research, education, and policy.
        • Recognize importance of mentoring students and facilitating professional advancement of colleagues in clinical and educational settings.
      • Disseminate information through scholarly presentations and publications to promote the growth of the profession.

      There are five student learning assessment outcomes that are measured during this program:

      • Annual Report

        At the conclusion of each academic year, by early June, each PhD and MS-PhD student submits to the PhD Programs office an annual progress report, accompanied by a current CV, which have been discussed and cosigned by the advisor. All reports are reviewed annually by the PhD Program Subcommittee for evidence of scholarly productivity (i.e. research-focused presentations, publications, and grant applications).  The threshold for this learning outcome is 95% achievement by the end of the third year of study.

        • Qualifying Examination

        Students are eligible to take the Qualifying Examination after all first year courses are completed. These are NUR 505, NUR 506, NUR 507, NUR 510, NUR 511, NUR 512, and NUR 555. ”I” grades in any of these courses must be cleared by July 1 preceding the August written examination date.
                   
        The goal of the Qualifying Exam is to tap into students’ ability to apply principles of qualitative and quantitative design and think theoretically and philosophically about research design and knowledge development. The purposes of the examination are to assess students’ ability to:

        1. understand and interpret key concepts from first year courses foundational to the various methodologies for doing nursing research;
        2. synthesize and integrate the content across first year courses in application to research problems, and
        3. use both written and oral forms of expression to present ideas both logically and succinctly.

        The exam covers major aspects of design and analysis and their epistemological underpinnings in qualitative and quantitative methods. It serves as an indicator to faculty of potential difficulties in program completion. It provides the student with feedback on their overall program progress and areas that may need strengthening.

        The threshold for this learning outcome is that 95% of the student group will successfully complete the qualifying examination and will progress to the dissertation preparation.

        • Dissertation Proposal Defense

        Successful completion of the qualifying examination and all coursework and RA/TA hours is required before the defense of the dissertation proposal. Students work with an approved committee in planning the proposal and the subsequent defense.  The proposal presentation by the student is followed by a period for questions from attendees other than committee members, and then a closed session for committee members’ questions and discussion.

        The threshold for this learning outcome will be that 95% of the student group will successfully defend their proposal and given permission to proceed with the research planned.

        • Dissertation Defense

        The purpose of this oral examination is to ascertain whether or not the candidate has proposed a significant dissertation and whether or not he or she has defended the dissertation adequately by offering appropriate and effective arguments and by marshaling relevant and convincing evidence. The presentation and defense of a significant dissertation is the capstone of the work for the PhD degree.

        The threshold for this learning outcome is that 100% of the student group will successfully defend their dissertation.

        • Curriculum Vitae review

        Every 5 years, as part of program evaluation activities, students who have graduated from the PhD Program are contacted and asked to submit a current CV.  The CV is reviewed for positions held, regional and national presentations and publications and research funding. 

        The targets for this outcome are: that 50% of graduates will report research funding after graduation; that 60% will be in positions using academic and research expertise; and that 80% will publish at least their dissertation work.